This Week: November 12 - 16

Published: November 12, 2012


“There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.” – Rumi

On November 3, 2012, The Boston Globe ran an interview with poet Mary Oliver. Oliver told the interviewer that she reads Rumi, the 13th-century Persian poet, every day. This has been her practice for the last 10 years. When asked to cite her favorite poem, Oliver quoted Rumi:  “There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.”

A few weeks ago a friend asked me, “What is theological education anyway?” Certainly, there are many ways to answer this question. I wish I had read the interview with Mary Oliver before I gave my response because I heard in her words about poetry insights pertinent to describing theological education.

By this time in the semester, students have attended countless classes, read hundreds of scholarly pages, considered multiple ideas and concepts, and prepared not a few assignments. A semester of study in a Master of Divinity program is a semester of exposure to an abundance of “things theological,” including ideas related not only to God and faith per se but also to culture, cosmology, politics, economics, health, and much more. Those of us who teach in the Master of Divinity program hope that this course of study stretches students’ awareness of the world around them and cultivates their capacity to encounter God in the midst of that world.

I think when Mary Oliver quoted Rumi she offered wisdom about what students learn when they participate in theological education.  God can be encountered in countless ways and places. There are indeed “hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.”

Mary Oliver concluded her interview with The Boston Globe by saying that poetry saved her life. When asked how she discovered poetry, she spoke about a used bookstore in Cleveland that she frequented as a child and then offered this: “The only record I broke in high school was for truancy. I’d put some books in a knapsack and go to the woods. And I got away with it.”  Okay, so truancy is frowned upon when it comes to School of Divinity class attendance, but perhaps taking some books into the woods on a cool November Saturday is not a bad addition to a week of theological education. Just make sure to kneel and kiss the ground while you are there.

[citation:  Interview by Amy Sutherland, The Boston Globe, November 3, 2012]


Do you enjoy singing Advent, Christmas and Epiphany music? Songs from the season of stars and mangers and cosmic visions?

The Divinity School Choir will be singing several pieces for the last chapel service of the semester. The theme?  “I Wonder as I Wander: A Worship Journey from Advent through Epiphany”

Join the choir for two rehearsals and the December 4 chapel service. 


  • Next Wednesday, November 14,11am in Davis Chapel
  • Wednesday, November 21, 11am in the Lower Auditorium

Academic News:

Thanksgiving Break November 21 – 25
Last Day of Classes Friday, December 7
Fall Exams Schedule available here.

Spring Registration continues through the end of the November.  Please notify Susan Robinson in the Office of the Academic Dean if you decide to drop a course for which you have already registered so that any students waiting to enroll in the course can be notified. 


Blessings on the week ahead,

  Jill Crainshaw
  Associate Dean for Academic Affairs




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